Podcast popularity seems to be at an all time high – and I’m not sure why. In an age where video is becoming the king of everything (whether it be static YouTube videos or dynamic Twitch livestreams), podcasts are experiencing a bit of a resurgence. Maybe this is just the way of the world; maybe time is a flat circle. Whatever the reason, though, there seem to be no shortage of popular and well received podcasts these days, so much so that I’m almost certainly missing out on a gem or two.
However, rather than just make a bland request for suggestions, here are the ones I listen to right now, and why. Maybe you might be able to help me find some great ones I’ve missed:
- Giant Bombcast
- Giant Bomb’s podcast is really a no brainer. The production value is excellent and the cast of hosts that Giant Bomb has to call on are some of the most knowledgeable gaming media types around. Though the podcast is no longer officially hosted by Giant Bomb Boss Jeff Gerstmann, he still is one of the two main hosts. MC duties passed to Brad Shoemaker last year (I think it was last year) and he’s done a wonderful job of maintaining the spirit of the ‘cast while also bringing back a little of the passion for video games that seems to have withered up and died in Gerstmann’s cold dead heart over the years. The addition of Dan Ryckert to the mix and the constant calming presence of Drew Scanlon round out a very well balanced podcast team. This is easily my #1 podcast, my go-to, the one I actually constantly F5 for.
- Idle Thumbs
- Coming up on episode 200, Idle Thumbs is in a lot of ways the polar opposite of Giant Bombcast. Though it, too, features 4 (nominal) hosts, the members of the team there all come from the other side of the fence in the game industry – development. Their passion and excitement for video games remains more or less intact through 200 episodes, and they often discuss the nitty gritty details of aesthetics, narrative, and design in a way that no other podcast really does that I’m aware of. They are also incredibly funny at times, often riffing on silly ideas in tangential bursts of entertainment.
- The Instance
- I’ve been listening to The Instance for awhile now, but it is far from a regular listen for me. Instead, The Instance’s relevancy and popularity in my mind fluctuate with the relevancy and popularity of it’s subject, World of Warcraft. To put it another way – when I start diving into WoW for the umpteenth time, The Instance starts getting played a hell of a lot more frequently during my commutes. The production values are solid despite the three regular hosts being remote from one another, and the podcast moves along at a decent clip. They also regularly (though briefly) cover things like Hearthstone and Diablo, making it more of a Blizz-cast than a WoW-cast, which is nice.
- Hydrostatic Podcast
- A relative new comer in the always vibrant and flourishing EVE podcasting community, Hydrostatic does a lot of things very well. Its shows are divided nicely into digestible, clearly delineated segments; they deliver information I otherwise would not ever know in an entertaining and mostly clear way; and they also have some good audience interaction bits, mostly in the form of Phyridean’s pub quiz. The production value is distinctly amateur level, as things appear to be recorded from just one host over the internet (rather than doing the multiple recordings > mixdown approach) and the equipment involved is distinctly not top-notch. That being said, it doesn’t really detract from the content, which is really all you want from your equipment anyways. They also have a pretty good track record so far of interesting guests and topics of discussion.
- Cap Stable
- These guys are champions in my eyes, mainly for the work they’ve done the last two years during the CSM election cycle. This year I got to participate in several CSM candidate analysis shows and I was impressed at their professionalism and organization. The hosts are easy to listen to and the shows are well put together, though again the production quality is a little lower than some of the pro-level things listed above. All in all, though, easily one of the best EVE podcasts to have ever been made.
Outside of games I also listen to things like Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast (having been enough of a fan of The History of Rome to be inspired to start my own Roman podcasting effort) and Robin Pierson’s History of Byzantium. In general, I like well informed hosts talking with some level of detail about their area of expertise for 30 minutes to an hour (though obviously Giant Bombcast is a giant exception to this criteria). That being said – what do you listen to, and what am I missing? Let me know in the comments below!